Goodbye and good riddance! Why Congress MP Sanjay Sinh's resignation to join the BJP is for the Congress' good

Sanjay Sinh abandoning the Congress is a reason for cheer. The party must be purged of opportunistic old leaders with questionable backgrounds, to make way for fresh talent.

 |  8-minute read |   31-07-2019
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Congress Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Sinh has resigned from the party and decided to join the BJP.

His (second) wife Ameeta Sinh, who was also part of the Congress and holds a position in the All India Professional Congress (AIPC), has also reportedly resigned. However, her Twitter handle still has Congress credentials.

Justifying his resignation, and in an attempt to sound righteous, Sinh said, "The Congress is still in the past, unaware of the future. Today, the country is with PM Modi and if the country is with him, I'm with him."

main_ameeta-sinh_31j_073119123126.jpgAmeeta Sinh's Twitter handle still has Congress credentials as of noon of July 31, 2019. (Photo: Twitter Screengrab)

The truth, if you ask me, is that this has nothing to with the nation or its future. In my view, it is crass opportunism and naked greed by a shrewd politician.

Sinh was once accused of murdering his present wife (Ameeta’s) former husband, the ace badminton player, Syed Modi. Sinh’s first wife, Garima, fought all the way to the Supreme Court to prove that Sanjay got a divorce decree by allegedly playing fraud upon the Court, so technically, he was still married to Garima even after he married Ameeta.

Such a sordid history.

Over the past few days, we have been hearing about the 'mass exodus from Congress'. Herds of MPs, MLAs and officeholders are leaving in droves, looking for greener pastures. With each batch of migration, the media laments how the Congress is now a headless chicken and is falling apart, and blames the lack of leadership for everything.

But I had a gut feeling that whatever was happening was the best for the party.

Today, after the likes of Sanjay Sinh exposed his true colours and abandoned the sinking ship, I am certain that this purging of the party of the opportunistic and feudalistic people with a reportedly questionable background is perhaps the best thing that happened to the Congress in decades.

For the uninitiated, Syed Modi was one of India’s star sportsman. He was an eight-time National Badminton Champion (1980–87), winner of the Men's Singles title at the 1982 Commonwealth Games and three other international titles — the Austrian International (in 1983 and 1984) and the USSR International (in 1985).

But India forgot him — perhaps because his life was abruptly cut short by a brutal murder. On the evening of July 28, 1988, when Syed Modi came out of the KD Babu Stadium after finishing his routine badminton practice and was about to start his scooter, five bullets were fired at him from a .38 bore revolver by two assailants. Two other men were waiting close by in a Maruti van. All four fled the spot.

main_syed-modi_faceb_073119124741.jpgSyed Modi: A promising life brutally cut short. (Photo: Facebook/ Syed Modi official)

On the CBI’s investigation, these four reported assailants — Amar Bahadur Singh, Bhagwati Singh, Balai Singh and Jitendra Singh — were found to be working for one Akhilesh Singh. According to the CBI, these four were hired to get the hit job done. 

Akhilesh was reportedly a friend of Sanjay Sinh, and a man with many criminal cases against him. The CBI arrested all four assailants, their handler Akhilesh, and the couple Sanjay Sinh and Ameeta for murder and conspiracy.  

It was the CBI that revealed the real mastermind of the crime was apparently Sanjay Sinh — a friend of the couple and an overbearing figure in Ameeta’s life, a man she was reportedly in love with. The CBI’s charges were based on the pages of Ameeta’s diary and several love letters exchanged between Sanjay and Ameeta which reveal a tale of passion.

main_ameeta-and-syed_073119012209.jpgIn happier times: Ameeta (L) and Syed Modi (R). (Photo: India Today archives)

The CBI also reportedly found Garima Singh’s letter, reprimanding Sanjay for the illicit affair, and another letter from Syed to Ameeta, where he speaks of his impending end and the terrible pain of having lost the love of his wife. The CBI considered these material facts enough to cast motive to murder Syed on Sanjay and believed that Ameeta was aware of the conspiracy. 

However, none of these could be proved in Court. The letters and diaries could only prove a suspicion of motive — but were not enough to frame charges, the court held.

Charges were dropped against the three accused. In the end, there was a trial only against the four hired assailants, two of whom were mysteriously murdered when they came out on bail. Finally, after a trial that lasted decades, Bhagwati was sentenced for a life term for murdering Syed Modi. 

But why would Bhagwati kill a sportsman? What was his motive? Who hired them and why?

We still don't know, even after 30 years since the crime was committed.

main_ameeta-and-sanj_073119012257.jpgSanjay Sinh (R) and Ameeta (L): The two accused of Syed Modi's murder got married soon after. (Photo: Facebook/ @Ameeta.Sinh)

The story needs to be told today to direct light onto the real issues involved here — the politician-criminal nexus in Indian politics, and sheer opportunism, greed and pursuit of power that these leaders have. Every party has such unethical leaders with criminal backgrounds. These leaders enjoy great political clout and think themselves above the law. A clear example we can presently see is in the likes of BJP MLAs Kuldeep Sengar and Akash Vijayvargiya.

Is the Congress above this? Absolutely not.

Questions must be asked as to what a person like Sinh, with such serious accusations against him, was doing in the Congress party in the first place?

Sinh had risen to the political limelight as a Congress leader and as a friend of the Gandhi family. In 1988, just days or months before the murder, he had quit and joined VP Singh’s Janata Dal.

Incidentally, VP Singh was Sinh’s first wife Garima’s uncle.

The murder trial was severely compromised, allegedly at the behest of VP Singh, who became Prime Minister by December 1989.

Sanjay was given impressive portfolios in VP Singh’s cabinet. Yet, in a few years, he quit the Janata Dal and joined the BJP. In 2003, he again quit the BJP and came back to the Congress.

My mind boggles at such party-hopping.

main_rani-garima-sin_073119125449.jpgVP Singh's niece and Sanjay Sinh's first wife: Garima Singh. (Photo: Facebook/ @RaniGarimaSingh)

The worst, however, was that the Congress accepted him back.

Today, we are demanding that the BJP leadership should expel Kuldeep Sengar from the party for life.

But why was Sanjay Sinh not barred from reinterring?

The Congress party is in shambles today because of allowing such unscrupulous leaders to control the inner chambers of the Congress palace for decades. These leaders do not care about the voters and understand nothing but power and greed — in pursuit of which they can go to any extent. They have kept the inner chambers reserved for themselves and blocked opportunities from reaching youth leaders who come from the grassroots, filled with ideology and enthusiasm. They have built a firewall around the party’s top leadership and held on to their positions like leeches, while the naïve king slept.

Having said that, I believe it is great that such rats are finally abandoning the proverbial sinking ship. It is said that only in the worst times, the people around us show their true colours.

main_priyanka-and-ra_073119010317.jpgBoth, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, should stay away from the post of Congress president because whoever would sit on that chair will become the soft target to hurl every blame on. (Photo: Reuters)

If you ask me, let Congress be on the ventilator for a few more months and wait till all such rats crawl out of their holes and leave. Only then will there be place for something new.

It might be a surprise to many, but sources inform us that there are still many Congress workers, volunteers and youth at the grassroots levels who continue to believe in the Nehru-Gandhi ideologies. They still look towards the Congress to preserve the liberal and secular idea of India, and they approach the party with a desire to give, not take.

Sadly, thanks to the old guard, earnest workers are turned away at the doorstep, feeling dejected. Therefore, the present mass exodus is important to make space for new leaders.

There is also no immediate need for the Congress president because whoever would sit on that chair will quickly become a soft target to hurl every blame on. Both Rahul and Priyanka should stay away from being that scapegoat for the moment.

Congress needs a detox. It needs chemotherapy — even amputation. It would be a long haul, but perhaps something good will emerge out of these dark days. The universe works in mysterious ways. Change is the only constant. Nothing is permanent. There is no reason to believe people will not seek a change from the BJP. And when that happens, hopefully, the Congress will be better prepared to step in.

(Note: All the above-mentioned information on the Syed Modi murder case was obtained from the Supreme Court judgements available here and here. Additional details were personally obtained directly by the author from Ex-CBI Joint Director Shantonu Sen, with whom the author had worked on a project, and who headed this investigation and arrested all seven accused). 

Also read: Lok Sabha 2019: A liberal Congress supporter, I concede defeat in this battle of ideas

Writer

Sanjukta Basu Sanjukta Basu @sanjukta

Freelance writer, photographer and women studies scholar, and a part of the Karwan E Mohabbat group. She writes on social marginalisation, minority rights and women issues.

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